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Vamana Avatara

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rcscwc

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I have never been able to get a rational explanation why Vamana Avatara happened.

Maharaja Bali was a Daitya, no doubt. But he was just and observed all the rules of Dharma. Before him, Prahalad too was a daitya king and was very, very dharmic. But he was not banished, Maharaja Bali was. Why, oh why?

Vamana is a unique avatar. He was the first avatar to be born in a brahmin family, next was Parshurama. Vamana did not kill anyone, latter did.

What was the crime of Maharaja Bali? As a Punjabi brahmin I believe, he was the maryada rajottam, an ideal king. Better kings are hard to find.

I understand that Maharaja Bali has day of worship among S. Indians. My Keralaite neighbours celebrate his day with quite a fanfare. They were surprised to know that we too venerate him!!

Can anyone remove my doubts?
 

happyhindu

Well-known member
RCSCWC,

Puranas were written after 500 BC and majorly after 3rd century AD. No matter what the dating is, it might be a good idea to keep in mind that indians were imaginative writers.

Some speculations are:

1) The story of Bali being ousted by Vishnu in the guise of a dwarf brahmin was created during the Kadamba dynasty. Mayurasharma, a brahmin was the founder of the Kadamba dynasty. He created tall tales regarding his own origin, some examples are here: OurKarnataka.com: History of Karnataka: Kadambas of Banavasi Mayura Sharma (who took the name Mayura Varma) defeated (and exiled) the Brihad Banas.

2) Historically, the Brihad Banas were a confederation of cheiftains who elected a monarch from themselves. So they were a 'democracy' of sorts. The terms Bana and Bali appear to have applied to all of the chieftains. One ruler named Vishnuvardhana IV, defeated a particular Bali. It is speculated that this Vishnuvardhana fashioned himself as an incarnation of Krishna and created the story of Bali's ouster.

There are strange unclear links between brihad-charanam (brahacharanam) with the armies of brihad-banas. The brihadbanas supposedly considered themselves 'brahma-rayars'. It is said that Vishvanatha Nayak claimed to be descended from a bana chieftain and called himself a brahmin or a brahmakshatriya, but there is no conclusive proof for all of these yet (am in pursuit of the search though). It is also somewhat strange that the mukkanis claim to be doorkeepers of skanda and shiva shrines just as some banas.

3) Not only in Kerala, a festival for Bali used to be common in Maharastra and Karnataka too (all along the west coast). While Bali was famous in north-west and west, his son Bana seems to have been popular in north-east india. There are some very vague and unclear links between the old Banas and the Banawali seals of Haryana. The banawali seals are supposedly associated with some old 'industries'. IMO, the Banas were a very large confederation of various tribes spread across India.

4) Bali was the son of Indra and Aruni (who some claim to be Aditi)...Btw, Indra seems to have consorted anybody. Anyways, Bali was called Indrasena. Am told there is an entire list (perhaps concocted) to show that pandavas / kurus descended from Bali.

5) Since the term Bali was applied to an entire group of people, there are quite a few characters also called Bali. Hanuman was also called maha-bali. Some say hanuman was called vrisha-kapi.

6) Since Bali descended from Aruni, it is claimed that the balis and banas were supposedly adityas, not daityas. Perhaps they were defeated and demoted as daityas.

All the above are speculations. All to be taken with an ounce of salt.

Regards.
 

sangom

Well-known member
I have never been able to get a rational explanation why Vamana Avatara happened.

Maharaja Bali was a Daitya, no doubt. But he was just and observed all the rules of Dharma. Before him, Prahalad too was a daitya king and was very, very dharmic. But he was not banished, Maharaja Bali was. Why, oh why?

Vamana is a unique avatar. He was the first avatar to be born in a brahmin family, next was Parshurama. Vamana did not kill anyone, latter did.

What was the crime of Maharaja Bali? As a Punjabi brahmin I believe, he was the maryada rajottam, an ideal king. Better kings are hard to find.

I understand that Maharaja Bali has day of worship among S. Indians. My Keralaite neighbours celebrate his day with quite a fanfare. They were surprised to know that we too venerate him!!

Can anyone remove my doubts?
The Mahabali legend in Kerala goes as follows:

Bali was a just and the best king ruling the entire Malayalanadu. The very famous poem recited during the Onam festival states that during Mahabali (Maaveli, in slang Malayalam) all people were equals. All were happy, no cheating, no theft, no dishonesty at all.

Maaveli wanted to become Indra and performed the rituals which would qualify him for that. The then reigning Indra was afraid and, he with the connivance of Vishnu, hatched the plot to dethrone Bali from the world itself. Sukracharya who was the Rajaguru of Bali (an asura) warned him when the dwarf brahmin came seeking "daan". Mahabali said whatever might happen, he would not violate the rules of the ritual which required that no brahmin is asked to go empty-handed. The daan becomes final only when the water is poured into the palm of the recipient, according to the sastras. So, Sukracharya took the form of an insect and blocked the snout of the "kindi" (a vessel used in old Kerala houses) from which Bali poured water. Vamana knew the trick and with a piece of hard "darbha" grass, poked the snout, thus making Sukracharya blind in one eye. Sukracharya, due to the pain, came out of the snout and the offer of daan was thus completed.

Kerala people believe that the vanquished Mahabali asked for a boon from Vamana that he should be allowed to return to Kerala on the very day (Sravana star in the month of Simha) every year to see his beloved people. This day is celebrated all over Kerala as well as the Keralaite diaspora, irrespective of religion or caste. It is also the state festival.

Historians and researchers hold the view that this is a memory of vedic aryan subjugation of native tribes in these parts of the country and the imposition of the caste system.

There is also a view that this was an attempt, though milder and an initial one, to show that brahmins had the upper hand in a period during which there was intense fight for overlordship of the aryan community, between brahmins and kshatriyas. Since this initial resistance by brahmins did not bear sufficiently deasirable results for brahmins, the Parasurama legend came as the next one reflecting a phase in which brahmins became martial and vanquished kshatriyas, in the dim past.

Subsequently, the kshatriyas and brahmins must have finalized a sort of ceasefire and mutual sharing of power; Rama signifies the same; a kshatriya being extolled as an avatar of Vishnu. There is also a yajurvedic stanza (I think) which means that the kshatriya is the best of God's creation and that is why, in a rajasuya sacrifice, even the brahmins sit at a level lower than the king's, or to the same sense.

Later on, the need arose to pacify the vaisyas also from revolting and Krishna avatar was the legend which signifies that.
 
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tbs

Well-known member
The Mahabali legend in Kerala goes as follows:

Bali was a just and the best king ruling the entire Malayalanadu. The very famous poem recited during the Onam festival states that during Mahabali (Maaveli, in slang Malayalam) all people were equals. All were happy, no cheating, no theft, no dishonesty at all.

Maaveli wanted to become Indra and performed the rituals which would qualify him for that. The then reigning Indra was afraid and, he with the connivance of Vishnu, hatched the plot to dethrone Bali from the world itself. Sukracharya who was the Rajaguru of Bali (an asura) warned him when the dwarf brahmin came seeking "daan". Mahabali said whatever might happen, he would not violate the rules of the ritual which required that no brahmin is asked to go empty-handed. The daan becomes final only when the water is poured into the palm of the recipient, according to the sastras. So, Sukracharya took the form of an insect and blocked the snout of the "kindi" (a vessel used in old Kerala houses) from which Bali poured water. Vamana knew the trick and with a piece of hard "darbha" grass, poked the snout, thus making Sukracharya blind in one eye. Sukracharya, due to the pain, came out of the snout and the offer of daan was thus completed.

Kerala people believe that the vanquished Mahabali asked for a boon from Vamana that he should be allowed to return to Kerala on the very day (Sravana star in the month of Simha) every year to see his beloved people. This day is celebrated all over Kerala as well as the Keralaite diaspora, irrespective of religion or caste. It is also the state festival.

Historians and researchers hold the view that this is a memory of vedic aryan subjugation of native tribes in these parts of the country and the imposition of the caste system.

There is also a view that this was an attempt, though milder and an initial one, to show that brahmins had the upper hand in a period during which there was intense fight for overlordship of the aryan community, between brahmins and kshatriyas. Since this initial resistance by brahmins did not bear sufficiently deasirable results for brahmins, the Parasurama legend came as the next one reflecting a phase in which brahmins became martial and vanquished kshatriyas, in the dim past.

Subsequently, the kshatriyas and brahmins must have finalized a sort of ceasefire and mutual sharing of power; Rama signifies the same; a kshatriya being extolled as an avatar of Vishnu. There is also a yajurvedic stanza (I think) which means that the kshatriya is the best of God's creation and that is why, in a rajasuya sacrifice, even the brahmins sit at a level lower than the king's, or to the same sense.

Later on, the need arose to pacify the vaisyas also from revolting and Krishna avatar was the legend which signifies that.

hi sangom sir,,

in kerala the song on Onam like this.....MAAVELI NAADU VANIDUM KAALAM....MANUSHYA ELLARUM ONNU POLE....am i correct?


regards
tbs
 
S

SwamiTaBra

Guest
So avatars emerged as a part of mega-deal consequent on dispute resolution! Ergo, gods are not superior to humans.....
 

sangom

Well-known member
So avatars emerged as a part of mega-deal consequent on dispute resolution! Ergo, gods are not superior to humans.....

There may be powers superior to humans in the universe. But if one studies any religion in depth, without any preconceived ideas or biases, it will be seen that all the gods/deities are characters emanating from mere human imagination. People have been successfully brainwashed by religion shows its (religion's) power.
 

happyhindu

Well-known member
So avatars emerged as a part of mega-deal consequent on dispute resolution! Ergo, gods are not superior to humans.....
Well, perhaps not necessarily...

Depiction of life as a form that moves from matsya (aquatic) state to koorma (semi-terrestrial) state is not part of any dispute resolution.

As regards the dasavataras, the stories themselves do not seem entirely baseless....so i suppose they were real events (but ofcourse with a large dose of exageration for the 'cinema effect').

These stories may also be family feuds for power. Vamana is considered brother of Indra and Bali is considered son of Indra. So it may have even been a fight over king-ship (perhaps bali and vamana both wanted to become king after indra).

All thru the vedic period, we see this fight between asuras and devas. But both were once upon a time a single group that split away due to differences.

We can't say the devas were kind to the brahmins. Indra went to great lengths to ensure power for himself, he even killed brahmins. Perhaps the vedic period represented the feud between the kshatriya and brahmins (with devas perhaps being the kshatriyas)...

Regards.
 
S

SwamiTaBra

Guest
Reply

Well, perhaps not necessarily...

Depiction of life as a form that moves from matsya (aquatic) state to koorma (semi-terrestrial) state is not part of any dispute resolution.

As regards the dasavataras, the stories themselves do not seem entirely baseless....so i suppose they were real events (but ofcourse with a large dose of exageration for the 'cinema effect').

These stories may also be family feuds for power. Vamana is considered brother of Indra and Bali is considered son of Indra. So it may have even been a fight over king-ship (perhaps bali and vamana both wanted to become king after indra).



All thru the vedic period, we see this fight between asuras and devas. But both were once upon a time a single group that split away due to differences.

We can't say the devas were kind to the brahmins. Indra went to great lengths to ensure power for himself, he even killed brahmins. Perhaps the vedic period represented the feud between the kshatriya and brahmins (with devas perhaps being the kshatriyas)...

Regards.

I just quipped. Things outside the ken of intellect rouses suspicion. A sceptic will remain a seeker till he realises the truth. It is perhaps for this reason humans yearn for expanding the mind's horizon failing which he wants to either discard or transcend the faculty altogether...

Swami
 
Vamana Avatara,

It can be that Maharaja Bali was bent upon taking the position of Indra. Indira has a life cycle during which time he remains the king of devas. By trying to out him, AKing Bali was going against the rule of nature and was prevented by Lord Vamana. But Lord Vamana also blessed him tht he will occupy that position in his next birth i.e. he will be the next Indra.

Rgds,
Mohan
 

happyhindu

Well-known member
Vamana Avatara,

It can be that Maharaja Bali was bent upon taking the position of Indra. Indira has a life cycle during which time he remains the king of devas. By trying to out him, AKing Bali was going against the rule of nature and was prevented by Lord Vamana. But Lord Vamana also blessed him tht he will occupy that position in his next birth i.e. he will be the next Indra.

Rgds,
Mohan
yes it is very possible that bali was keen on becoming indra forcibly.

by some accounts, vishnu wanted to make bali as the indra, to curb indra's arrogance.

all in all, we understand that politics of the feudalistic kind is very ancient indeed :)
 

DURGADASAN

Active member
Dear all

All the dasavatharams happened to prove the "development of organisms and the societal culture according to that". (Darwin copied the same and got the fame). First is the matsya avathar (the organism which can live only in water, at the time whole world was filled with water), next is Koorma avatar (the world has been splitted into water and land; subsequently the organisms also started to learnt according to the environment. The tortoise can live freely in both). Next is varaha (the boar can live only in land). Next is Narasimha (a wild animal with human impact). Next is Vamana (Short man) Might be the very ancient human beings as we saw them in the earthern pots.

Coming to the story, this vamana brahmachari did not harmed or killed the king at all. He just send the king into the "Padhala loka" and he himself stood as the gate-keeper for his entrance even today according to myths. Though the king was very good in nature, he tortured devas inorder to prove his power. He was also a bit self-boasted fellow and he thought always about his self-power (Balam- hence called "mahabali"), which actually acts as a curtain to meet the god. Inorder to remove all his sins, lord came like this.

Next is, he came as vamana while begging and while getting the alms, he was thrivikrama. What it actually means? This was the first viswaroopa darishanam showed by vishnu.

1. One should not weight the person before you by simply seeing him.
2. One should not give-up even if the problem grows upto the sky. If you think deeply, even at that time, you can find a solution.
3. Before providing the alms, think the background of the person.
4. Obey always your master's advise.
5. Even the god came infront of you and makes you to confuse to fulfill your wordings, you should not give up.

All these things are the lessons from this avatar.

From this avatar, a famous tamil proverb came into existence.

"Kallanai nambinalum kullanai nambadhe" -- this actually means even if you believe shri krishna who always did mischeives we should not believe vamana, who came as a short man and turned to be the thrivikrama and thereby fooled mahabali.

Pranams
 

kahanam

Active member
"Kallanai nambinalum kullanai nambadhe" -- this actually means even if you believe shri krishna who always did mischeives we should not believe vamana, who came as a short man and turned to be the thrivikrama and thereby fooled mahabali.

I am astonished that this ancient proverb gives this information about two Avataras of Mahavishnu, Lord Krishna and Lord Vaaman! Thanks!
 
Vamana avathar

Whether it is Vamana Avathar or SriKrishna Avathar, whatever the Lord does is only good for the devotees.

Rgds,
Mohan



"Kallanai nambinalum kullanai nambadhe" -- this actually means even if you believe shri krishna who always did mischeives we should not believe vamana, who came as a short man and turned to be the thrivikrama and thereby fooled mahabali.

I am astonished that this ancient proverb gives this information about two Avataras of Mahavishnu, Lord Krishna and Lord Vaaman! Thanks!
 

sangom

Well-known member
Dear all

All the dasavatharams happened to prove the "development of organisms and the societal culture according to that". (Darwin copied the same and got the fame). First is the matsya avathar (the organism which can live only in water, at the time whole world was filled with water), next is Koorma avatar (the world has been splitted into water and land; subsequently the organisms also started to learnt according to the environment. The tortoise can live freely in both). Next is varaha (the boar can live only in land). Next is Narasimha (a wild animal with human impact). Next is Vamana (Short man) Might be the very ancient human beings as we saw them in the earthern pots.

Coming to the story, this vamana brahmachari did not harmed or killed the king at all. He just send the king into the "Padhala loka" and he himself stood as the gate-keeper for his entrance even today according to myths. Though the king was very good in nature, he tortured devas inorder to prove his power. He was also a bit self-boasted fellow and he thought always about his self-power (Balam- hence called "mahabali"), which actually acts as a curtain to meet the god. Inorder to remove all his sins, lord came like this.

Next is, he came as vamana while begging and while getting the alms, he was thrivikrama. What it actually means? This was the first viswaroopa darishanam showed by vishnu.

1. One should not weight the person before you by simply seeing him.
2. One should not give-up even if the problem grows upto the sky. If you think deeply, even at that time, you can find a solution.
3. Before providing the alms, think the background of the person.
4. Obey always your master's advise.
5. Even the god came infront of you and makes you to confuse to fulfill your wordings, you should not give up.

All these things are the lessons from this avatar.

From this avatar, a famous tamil proverb came into existence.

"Kallanai nambinalum kullanai nambadhe" -- this actually means even if you believe shri krishna who always did mischeives we should not believe vamana, who came as a short man and turned to be the thrivikrama and thereby fooled mahabali.

Pranams
Shri Durgadasan,

for those who believe in the infallibility of Vishnu and that all his avatars had bonafide intentions, an elucidation such as the one above is not needed. So, I presume that you have attempted to justify the avataar to the sceptics.

For sceptics, this explanation is not sufficient, I feel. I enumerate them below:

1. If the avatars depict the evolution of life on this planet, why is it that our God did not take any avataar as one-celled organism, amoeba, bacteria, or even the primitive organisms of the ocean? Is it that God or those who wrote the puranas did not know these stages and could identify only fish as the first organisms?

2. From fish to koorma is strictly not correct. The word koorma in Sanskrit means tortoise or sea turtle. Tortoises are land-based while sea turtles are always in the sea. A better example would have been the frog which is real amphibian. May be the rishis who wrote these avataar stories saw a turtle and mistook it as tortoise. Any way the koormaasanam depicts a turtle.

3. The choice of varAham is really intriguing. Since cow ia a sacred animal, mammal, for us, would it not have been better to postulate a cow avatar instead of a pig which is even today looked down upon as unclean?

4. Narasimham has no comparable evolutionary stage, I suppose. Hence, Darwin would not have got fame if he had gone by the avatars story line.

5.You have omitted to explain which stages of evolution the subsequent avatars like Parasurama, Srirama,Krishna, etc., allude to.

By tracing the proverb "kallanai nambinaalum kullanai nambaate", you have classified krishna to be a mere thief. But this proverb could have originated only during or after Krishna's time. How was vamana relevant then? Did people feel that vamana would appear again and cheat some one else?
 

saarangam

Active member
Dear all

All the dasavatharams happened to prove the "development of organisms and the societal culture according to that". (Darwin copied the same and got the fame).
Dear Durgadasan
Would like to know how the other five avathars (from Parasurama to Kalki)can be explained as an evolution process.
Regards
 

kahanam

Active member
Vaamana has not really cheated. After Narasimha Avatar, which is the shortest duration Avatar ever, coming to protect the Divine child, Prahalada, Vamana came. He is a small boy, coming as a human after the man-lion, Narasimha. So even evolution concept is satisfied. He takes Viswaroopaa to show how even the small child can attain great heights.
Also he did not cheat Maha Bali. He placed His foot on Bali Maharaja's head and what more is needed for a Devotee like Bali, other than His divine Sparsa! Maha Bali Maharaja till today
rules the Underworlds as a Chiranjivi and Great Bhaktha of Maha Vishnu, according to Puranas!
 

kahanam

Active member
I think that after Vamana, came Parashurama Avatar. A Human Maharshi of the Highest order, He showed Tapas, carried out His father's orders, reduced Bhoomiparam by eliminating Adharmic kings who were then ruling and handed over his Powers and Mahima to Lord Rama, who came next. The evolution into Godhood is slowing increasing with the advent of Lord Rama. He lived like a Human being, braving all the sufferings, for the sake of Pithru Vaakya Paripaalana and only said that He knew Himself to be Rama, son of Dhasaradha Maharaja, humbly concealing His real nature. Lord Brahma reminded Him of His real Nature, it seems. To this day, Rama Naama links us all and purifies us instantly. Then came the Divine Brothers, Balarama and Krishna.Elders say that Rama wanted to return the services done to Him with loving care, by His brother, Lakshmana. So Lakshmana became Balarama and Rama became Krishna, in the next Avatar. The Divine sport of Lord Krishna is narrated in the Bhagavatham.Being a Sampoorna Avatar, Krishna suffered in prison as a child, got separated from his Parents, grew among Yadavas as the Son of Nandagopan and Yasodha, performed many miracles, slew many demons including his maternal uncle, Kamsa and released his parents, Vasudeva and Devaki from prison, later helped the Pandavas, gave the Supreme Upadesa, the Great Bhagavat Geetha through Arjuna to all of us,ruled over Dwaraka, never forgetting His real Swaroopa, Lord Maha Vishnu! He has allowed us full play in Kali Yuga. Dharma is standing as a one-legged cow in Kali Yuga. At breaking point, when the end of this Yuga is approaching, He will emerge as the Supreme Being, Kalki Bhagavan, eliminate all evil and administer the Worlds, at the Highest Level of Evolution. Ultimately everything will merge in Him and then again creation will start! The Yugas will start again from Kritha Yuga, the Golden Age, when Dharma cow will again stand on four legs, an anology for the Goodness of the Time and Dharma being practised.
I have given a simple explanation with my limited knowledge. Regards.
 
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i am not well versed in all this religious talks, but up t o my knowledge it is just to say that god kept his feet and this is a lesson for any humanbeing or any creature that they can't be superior than god though a good administrator, and bali himself knew that it was god who came. so he is blessed to get that mokasham
 

DURGADASAN

Active member
Dear sangom uncle

To my knowledge god only created us and we have not created god. So it is strictly his decision which form to take and not we people to decide whether a sacred cow or sea-turtle. As for as my science knowledge says, tortoise can live both in sea and land. In case for your amoeboid like organisms (they are actually microbes) (am a ph.d student in microbiology), we cannot consider them as proper living beings as their reproductive cycle is entirely different and they remains invisble to us. We people usually say with a pride that we are studying about god (How means microbes are ubiquitous in this universe and is invisible to human naked eye and they rule all the living-beings without knowing their presence-- How similarities between microbes and god na uncle). We should always think about the necessity of the avathars taken and the actual circumstances and scenario behind that. It is not that always a cow is sacred and boar is of lower quality. In the srishti of god, everything is equal and so might be to prove that he left the cow avatar and took a boar.

Dear saarngam sir,
Coming to parasurama avatar, it depicts the human being with full physical growth (but with lower culture and also does not know the usage of instruments), he has an axe always in his hands (which can be correlated with the primate humans who lived like that), next comes the balaram with decent qualities and a plough (which shows that man started agriculture and his civilization has developed very well), next is krishna with all the mischeifs around him and next is kalki to make a full-stop for all.

Why am saying these is, each and every concept is our own Indian concept. Foreigners came here just for studying them and make into polished terms with their scientific terms and claimed themselves that they only came out with these inventions, which is entirely wrong. Only thing is our ancestors have not patented everything (might be those poor people does not know about patents and all).

Pranams
 
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